WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine London Summit
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine London Summit
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine London Summit
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wpengine London Summit
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine London Summit
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine London Summit
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine London Summit
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with really understood the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine London Summit
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wpengine London Summit
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine London Summit
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine London Summit
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine London Summit
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wpengine London Summit
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine London Summit
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine London Summit
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine London Summit